March 4, 2013
Q: Is it okay to take overnight trips together with my boyfriend, or are there other ways we can be appropriately “intimate” in the dating relationship?”
A: That’s a very timely question because many young people today are sexually active before marriage. I really think that’s a mistake and that it violates the basic concept of what the sexual part of a relationship is all about. I believe sex is designed by God to be reserved for marriage. So, I think it depends on the nature of the trip: Are you by yourselves? Staying in the same room? Having a sexual relationship? Or do you have separate rooms and are not sexually involved?
It’s a matter of taking seriously the scriptures and developing a relationship in a positive way as opposed to a way that will be detrimental to the future.
February 11, 2013
Q: You talk about “in love euphoria.” What about relationships that start without this “feeling” and are more “intellectually based” Is this healthy?
A: I think that’s perfectly fine. I do think, however, that the in-love experience is an important part of the relationship. I find that couples who never have that—they simply have a common interest, build a friendship and later get married—often they are tempted outside the marriage when they do have an in-love experience with somebody else. And because they didn’t have it in the original relationship they are more likely to bail out of that relationship. It’s important but it doesn’t have to be the first thing on the agenda. It may come after they developed a friendship.
February 1, 2013
Q: My boyfriend says that it’s too early in our relationship to start praying together. Do you have an opinion on when is the right time?
A: I think that there are couples who pray together on the first date, and every time after that. So the spiritual dimension of the relationship is good but it often doesn’t deal with the intellectual, emotional and social aspects of the relatioship. Praying with someone else is a very intimate experience. You’re expressing your heart, your thoughts and your desires to God. It creates a very deep connection with that person. I don’t think there is anything arbitrary about when you start praying in a dating relationship but I think your boyfriend understands that there is a danger in over spiritualizing your relationship, and not dealing with the other aspects of your relationship.
January 28, 2013
Q: I’ve been in a relationship for several months and we are trying to be careful physically. When is it appropriate to start touching-with boundaries in place?
A: I think different Christians have different opinions on what is appropriate and what is inappropriate in a dating relationship. In the early stages of dating you don’t want to get involved very much physically because if you do, it could overtake the relationship and you don’t spend time getting to know each other, which is the purpose of dating. So, I can’t say what you should and shouldn’t do but during the early stages, I think you ought to hold off on the physical and get to know each other. Then, I also think, there are appropriate and inappropriate touches in a dating relationship.
January 25, 2013
Q: My daughter is dating a guy whose love language is Receiving Gifts. However, she is on a very tight budget. How would she show this?
A: Don’t assume that because a person’s love language is Receiving Gifts that you have to give expensive gifts. That’s not true. If gifts is a person’s love language, then little gifts will mean just as much as large and expensive gifts. They know if you’re on a budget and if you don’t have a lot of extra funds around. So simply buying a piece of candy or something else small, it says to them, “they were thinking about me, they got this for me.”
So it doesn’t have to be an expensive gift, it’s the thought that counts. But don’t ignore the reality that their love language is “Receiving Gifts.” Give them gifts but stay within your budget.
January 7, 2013
Q: Do you believe that we all have a “soul mate”?
A: I do think that God has a plan for all of our lives. but we don’t know what that plan is. It’s left up to us, seeking God’s direction, to find the person we should marry. But the soul mate idea is that someone is going to make me happy forever—that doesn’t happen. This euphoria, in which we feel like we were born for each other, has a two year life span. We eventually come down off the high, recognize we are human and have to learn to love each other. I don’t think we should have a soul mate mentality but commit ourselves to learn to love the person to whom we are now married.
December 28, 2012
Q: I’m having a hard time separating from thoughts and feelings from past relationships. I’m dating seriously now and want to be able to focus solely on her.
A: This a common problem. Everything we’ve experienced in the past is recorded in our brain. And when we’ve had intimate relationships in the past, sometimes even involving sexual activity, all those memories are still in the mind and they come back from time to time.
So, what I suggest is this: you take those things to God and say, “Lord you know what I’m remembering and you know how troubling it is to me. Would you let the blood of Christ flow over those past memories so that they are not so sharp in my mind, so that they become dull in my mind, and I can focus on the relationship that I”m in now.”
There has to be healing in those memories before we can go forward.
December 10, 2012
Q: How do I show appreciation to my finance? He does a lot of great things for me but says I don’t SHOW that I appreciate him.
A: I think this is a common problem in relationships; One person will do something to express their love for the other person but they don’t get the response they thought they would get. Maybe he buys a gift and thinks, “she’s going to really like this” and she says, “Oh thank you” and that’s it, but he thought she would be jumping up and down with excitement. I think a part of the problem is not understanding the other person’s love language. He’s speaking to you in one language and apparently you’re hearing that because you’re observing that he’s doing a lot of good things for you. I would say, take the Love Language quiz and discuss it with each other. I think you’ll find it to be helpful.
November 30, 2012
A: The short answer is “yes.” I’m often asked that. People will say, “It seems to me that two of those languages are just about equal for me.” And I say, “Fine, we’ll call you bilingual.” But most people have a primary love language, a secondary love language and then the other three fall in line after that. But I do think that for some people a couple of these will be just about equal. And what that means is both of those will speak very deeply to you emotionally. So if your spouse or friend is sharing either one of those languages, it’s going to be very meaningful to you. But keep in mind that most people have a primary love language and the key is you have to give heavy doses of the primary then you can sprinkle in the other four to get extra credit.
November 16, 2012
Q: Where is the line on Physical Touch before marriage? I think some think this refers only to sex.
A: This is a good question. I cannot give a categoric answer for everyone but I can give you some suggestions. Certainly, sexual intercourse should be off limits for a couple who is dating. But I think other things should also be off limets: putting your hands under clothes, taking off clothes, touching each other’s sexual organs…I think those things are off limits because they are next door to sexual intercourse. Holding hands, on the other hand, is in a different cateogy. Giving a sincere hug or kiss, as I see it, is in a different category. However, I think each individual must draw some guidelines, otherwise we end up going where we never intended to go.